National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci has effectively called on the media to stop “pitting” him against President Donald Trump.
Fauci, the nation’s leading expert in infectious diseases, was asked about the media trying to drive a wedge between his views and those of the president in an interview Tuesday on the Morning on The Mall Podcast, hosted by Vince Coglianese.
“That is really unfortunate. I would wish that would stop because we have a much bigger problem here than trying to point out differences,” Dr. Fauci said. “There really, fundamentally at the core … are not differences.”
Fauci continues to speak complimentary of Trump, saying the president listens to his expertise and the opinions of other experts on White House coronavirus task force.
“The president has listened to what I have said and what the other people on the task force have said,” Fauci said. “When I have made recommendations he has taken them. The idea of just pitting one against the other is just not helpful.”
In a tweet Tuesday morning, the president was clear that there is no divide between the two.
Fauci sat down for an interview with Fox News host Mark Levin and spoke well of the president.
“He asks a lot of questions. That’s his nature. He’s constantly asking questions,” the infectious disease expert said. “And I never, in the multiple times I’ve done that, where I said, ‘For scientific reasons we really should do this,’ that he hasn’t said, ‘Let’s do it.'”
Trump responded to a clip of those remarks: “Thank you Tony!”
Thank you Tony! https://t.co/U5XxzeQzXJ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 24, 2020
In an appearance Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Fauci again spoke against the efforts to “separate the two of us” as he was asked a loaded question about existing drugs being used to treat coronavirus.
“The President was trying to bring hope to the people,” he explained. “I think there’s this issue of [the media] trying to separate the two of us. There isn’t fundamentally a difference there.”
DR. FAUCI: “The President was trying to bring hope to the people. I think there's this issue of [the media] trying to separate the two of us. There isn't fundamentally a difference there." pic.twitter.com/lSygidey2a
— Ken Farnaso (@KLF) March 22, 2020
Yet, on Monday the New York Times reported that President Trump’s patience with Fauci had “started to wear thin.”
White House reporters repeatedly try to prod Trump’s science team to go against him, as seen at Monday’s news briefing.
With Trump suggesting he will evaluate restrictions in place when the 15-day state of emergency he declared has expired, a reporter asked whether Fauci was in agreement with possibly reopening the economy.
The president replied that Fauci, who was not in attendance, “doesn’t not agree.”
When asked about his absence, Trump said, “He’s a good man. I like Dr. Fauci. He isn’t here because we’re not discussing what he’s best at.”
Another reporter put U.S. State Department health official Deborah Birx on the spot by asking her if she was “okay” with reopening the economy, after noting that Trump, who was standing right next to her, said some of his doctors he’s talking to are okay with it.
Birx did not fall for the bait.
“What the president has asked us to do is to assemble all the data and give him our best medical recommendation based on all the data,” she replied. “That’s what he has asked us to do and so that’s what we’ll do.”
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